Rhodiola rosea extract may improve anxiety, stress and mood: Human data

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

Image © iStockPhoto / maurusone
Image © iStockPhoto / maurusone
Daily intake of a Rhodiola rosea L. extract may improve various measures of mood in people with mild anxiety, says a new study from England.

Data from 81 mildly anxious students indicated that 14 days of supplementation with the Rhodiola rosea ​L. extract significantly reduced self-reported anxiety and stress.

Improvements in self-reported anger, confusion, and depression were also reported by the researchers.

“Although Rhodiola rosea has been used traditionally to relieve a range of symptoms of stress related disorders, to our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate the efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L. in the treatment of mild anxiety,”​ wrote Mark Cropley, Adrian Banks, and Julia Boyle from the University of Surrey in Phytotherapy Research​.

The study was funded by Dr Willmar Schwabe Gmbh & Co. KG and used the company’s Rhodiola rosea ​L. extract, with the international brand name in most countries Vitango.

Study details

Cropley, Banks, and Boyle recruited 81 students with an average age of 21 to participate in their 14-day study. The participants were assigned to receive two 200 mg doses per day of the Rhodiola rosea​ L extract or no treatment.

Self-reported measures indicated that Rhodiola group demonstrated a significant reduction in self-reported anxiety and stress. Secondary endpoints, including anger, confusion and depression, also improved over the 14 day trial. Self-reported “total mood” was also significantly improved in the Rhodiola group.

On the other hand, no changes to measures of cognitive function were reported by the researchers.

Importantly, the safety and tolerability of the Rhodiola rosea L supplements were favourable.

“Future research is needed to replicate the current findings, and it would be desirable to supplement the subjective nature of self-reports with more objective indices,”​ wrote Cropley, Banks, and Boyle. “Clinical interviews could be used to assess mood, and sleep could be assessed via wrist actigraphy or EEG.

“The lack of placebo control is another limitation of this study. It is unlikely that the findings were the result of placebo effects, as changes appeared gradual and were specific to certain measures. As this was a non-placebo RCT, however, we cannot determine a causal relationship, and we cannot exclude that some of the changes were because of time alone or other factors.”

“Overall the results demonstrated that Rhodiola rosea L. (Vitango) is effective in the treatment of mild anxiety and stress. It improved confusion, anger, and total mood, and was well tolerated.”

Source: Phytotherapy Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ptr.5486
“The Effects of ​Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms”
Authors: M. Cropley, A.P. Banks, J. Boyle

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